compassion: literally, to suffer (passion) with (com-) another. in latin, this suffering did not only refer to the suffering that occurs in pain, it also generally refers to things that we don’t actively instigate – things that happen to us, things that we let happen (for example, as in “suffer the children”).
so in a sense, compassion means to experience together.
i want to talk a little about how compassion happens in social media. right now, for example, artist, blogger, second lifer and social media activist susan reynolds is going through cancer surgery. she found out she has cancer a few weeks ago and the twittosphere has been rallying around her in an amazing show of support.
frankly, i wish i could show my support a bit more but there’s this part of me that’s quite taken up by thinking of my “own” cancer story – my soul sister h., who has been battling this beast for years and it’s very, very hard.
i’ve thought a bit lately about the idea of giving of what we don’t have, how that is a truly walking on the path of goodness (partly inspired by one of the three monks, i think, but i forgot which post it was). there isn’t much thinking-about-breast-cancer energy left in me – but writing this right now makes me wonder … can i give that little bit away, too? am i doing that right now?
back to compassion in social media. a few weeks ago, ZDNet’s marc orchant suffered a massive heart attack and then passed away. an early death. the twittosphere and the blogosphere were there to send good thoughts and wishes while marc was struggling to stay around, and they were there when he passed.
my own experience with this was in the spring, when my grandson took such a long time to make his appearance. it was lovely to have my social media friends accompany us on that journey. many of them were my friends from the vancouver bloggers meetup – social media friends in a very rich sense. we are social together through media, and we commune/communicate both via social media (twitter, blogs, facebook, stumbleupon) and face to face.
we experience together in community. compassion.
this is part of a group writing project. it was good for me to write this post, regardless of the fact that this is a meme. but just in case you’re curious or would like to participate, here is the background, which i’ve simply copied and pasted from albert’s blog:
write something on compassion. it could be anything you want,for example your definition of compassion. still, in the spirit of christmas, extra points will be awarded if there is a personal touch – because we want to connect in compassion.
some ideas could be what you have done or will do for someone. or perhaps the best kindness anyone has ever shown you.
with thanks to the now watch, we’re able to give some christmas gifts to the best story and reaction. we’ve got a total of 6 watches to give away, so the top 6 stories will each be sent a watch, as our thanks for sharing.
why the now watch?
this is one of the most important lessons one could ever learn, one that we are glad is going spreading across the planet. the vast majority of our unhappiness is caused by dwelling in the past, or trying to anticipate the future.
most of our mental suffering is caused by thoughts such as:
the past: “i wish this never happened / they never did that.”
the future: “i hope that doesn’t happen.” “when i get this, then i will be at peace.”
this is absurd, because the only time is now. when the future gets here, it will be now.
the past only exists as memory. being in the now – that is the path towards the end of suffering.
this watch is a tool towards being in the now – every time you check the time, you’ll realise that the present moment is all we have. and our painful mental habits begin to unravel.
the rules of the game
this is a joint effort by the three monks – wade of the middle way, kenton of zen-inspired self development, and albert of urban monk.net. the watches are kindly provided by the coolest timepiece company ever – the now watch.
to participate –
1) write a post as described above. you’re encouraged, although not required, to link to all three of the judges.
2) contact any one of us, either by emailing, or leaving a comment in one of the judge’s posts.
3) you’re encouraged also to spread the word, tag your friends, and ask them to participate.
4) on 5 january 2008, the three judges will look at all the entries, pick the winners, and publish a list, so we can all share the links and traffic.
5) the results will be posted on 10 january 2008 on all three judge’s blogs. winners will be contacted for mailing address details so we can send them to you!
so i guess i should tag someone. i think i’ll just be lazy and copy from my best of the list post:
6 steps to take writing ideas from wordpress themes by karen zara
best 101 lists by pearl
list of classes by priscilla palmer
100 sites i seek inspiration from by iain hamp
7 tricks you need to fight procrastination by samir bharadwaj
the quitter’s checklist by em dy
150 funniest resume mistakes, bloopers and blunders ever by jacob share
100 resources to improve your career, relationships and money by lawrence cheok
(this post can be found in the resource for bloggers, 5th edition)